Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yes, Rowan, it is an ultimatum

If there is anything that "really gets up my nose" (as the Brits might say), it is when someone tries to fiddle with the plain meaning of words. ("When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean..." —Humpty Dumpty in Alice Through the Looking Glass).

Take our fearless leader Rowan Williams, who, this week, faced with an opportunity to save the Anglican Communion decides to "go all wobbly" and start saying that the Dar Es Salaam Communique, issued by the Primates at their meeting in February 2007, didn't really constitute an ultimatum to the American church to get its act together or else. Before leaving New Orleans, last Friday, he described September 30th as simply a date of convenience. The only reason a specific date was chosen, he suggested, was that the primates recognized the September House of Bishops’ meeting as the last official meeting of bishops before the next Lambeth conference and they wanted to have the position of the American church clarified.

Well, let's see what the Communique actually said:
“The Primates request that the answer of the House of Bishops is conveyed to the Primates by the Presiding Bishop by 30th September 2007. If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.”

Apparently one of the spiritual graces given to the Archbishop of Canterbury is the mystical power to turn granite into fog.

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